Berkeley Heights, NJ
On Sunday May 15th 2022 Erika died due to complications from an aortic aneurysm.
Erika was born in Goerlitz, Germany in 1929 and grew up in Berlin. Because her mother was Jewish, she became a Holocaust target, so the family was forced to go into hiding for several years.
After the war Erika lived in the Frankfurt area, married and had 3 sons. In 1967, following a difficult divorce, she moved to California with her youngest son Kai.
In 1969 Bernd Haase, a recent widower, took his 2 children, Peter and Karen, on a trip to the west coast where he was introduced to Erika in Santa Monica. They dated for 2 days and got married 3 weeks later in Summit, NJ. Erika was not only an exceptionally beautiful woman but a brave one as well; moving across the country and agreeing to help raise Bernd's two almost-teenagers (who soon chose to call her Mom) took a lot of trust and courage. But it all worked out and they remained together for 53 very happy years.
Erika was also a gourmet cook who loved art, music, dancing, gardening and much more.
She volunteered at Overlook Hospital and also at two local school libraries. This led to a regular job later on at the Berkeley Heights Public Library where she remained for 10 years.
Erika had a beautiful voice and was a member of two community choral groups, the Schola Cantorum in Plainfield followed by the Choral Arts Ensemble in Westfield. She was an avid tennis player and a member of the Murray Hill Tennis Club into her early 80’s, as well as an avid reader and member of book clubs until the end of her life.
She is survived here in NJ by her husband Bernd, her son Kai Ihringer (Lisa), grandchildren Katherine and Lukas and her stepdaughter Karen Haase-Gray (Jack).
Her family in Germany includes her predeceased son Thomas (Lilo), grandchildren Ferdinand & Christian, her son Stefan (Andrea), grandchildren Alice, Janick, Isabel, Valentin, Lucia, and Nikola, plus 5 great-grandchildren, as well as nieces Annette and Feli and their families.
As per Erika’s express wish, there will be no memorial service.
In lieu of flowers donations may be sent to either Smile Train smiletrain.org or the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation msfocus.org
Arrangements are under the direction of the Valley Memorial Funeral Home. For more information and online condolences visit valleymemorialfuneralhome.net